Chris           Last month Judge Greenwood gave us a fascinating introduction to the history and work of the International Court of Justice, and its work on resolving disputes between states. He also issued a challenge, that if there is interest he could arrange a tour of the Court for us. Do let me know if you are interested in this, and I will pursue it for later in the year.

Mike           The first major CADS event of the year was held last week. Over 70 CADS members and their guests attended a reception at the British Ambassador’s residence in Den Haag to celebrate the award of the OBE to Mike Carn, and to dine with Mike and Jean at the Carlton Ambassador afterwards. A great night was had by all, and we finally made it to bed in the early hours of the morning. Photographs of the event are on the website, along with a recording of the beautiful singing by the Monday Singers.

Frederike            During late April we also enjoyed the final of the BBC-ESU English Speaking Awards at the Media Centre in Hilversum, and the worthy winner was Frederike Brockhoven, a pupil at the Zeist Christelijke Lyceum. Frederike has kindly agreed to speak to CADS at the end of this month as our guest speaker and intends to address us on the subject of ‘ideas are our greatest weapons’. This is a new speech she has written for the international public speaking finals she is attending in London. Do come along and listen to her. She is both entertaining and educational.

On Sunday the 19th May at 1515hrs there is a Baroque concert at the Engelse Kerk at the Begijnhof in Amsterdam. A group of professional musicians have donated their time to raise money for the victims of the Fukushima disaster. Do come along if you can – it promises to be a wonderful concert.

Paul            Meanwhile, in London Britain’s elected politicians are focusing their time and energy on whether the British people should be allowed a vote in a referendum on the UK being part of the European Union – and whether Scottish people should be allowed a vote on remaining part of Britain. What a farce… the key issue is not whether the UK is part of the EU; it is whether Britain’s political leaders have the vision and energy to help lead the EU out of the economic mess we are currently suffering. This is not a British issue, but a European one. Where is the leadership? Engaged in a battle of wills for minor matters of self-interest, or in deciding and taking action on the major issues facing us all? They could usefully learn from our outgoing ambassador and his economic team, including CADS member Mark Ashwell. The Netherlands is now the UK’s third largest trading partner, with over 57bn Euros of trade between us. This trade has grown 10% over the past two years, thanks to the unrelenting promotion and commitment of our businesses, and the diplomats, bankers and lawyers that support the trade between us. So buy Mark a drink when you see him! And buy a copy of Benno Pieters’ book, ON BECOMING A BRAND, which the ambassador is kindly promoting in the photo alongside!